Pittsburgh makes successful migration from Microsoft Exchange to Google Apps

Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl announced the city has successfully transitioned its email service from Microsoft Exchange to Google Apps for Government. According to the announcement, the city will save an estimated 25 percent in email support costs.

“Adopting Google Apps aligns with our goals to utilize the best, most innovative technology in order to modernize our government, cut costs and improve operational efficiencies,” Ravenstahl said. “We’re very excited about this new service and I’m very proud of all of our employees for adopting it so swiftly.”

(HT Sid Burgess)

The state of U.S. state government finances in four simple charts

Four charts from Google Public Data Explorer summarize how U.S. state governments are trending with respect to finances. Despite all odds, however, liquor stores continue to hold their own when it comes to generating revenue.

Revenue

All amounts of money received by a government from external sources–net of refunds and other correcting transactions–other than from issuance of debt, liquidation of investments, and as agency and private trust transactions. Note that revenue excludes noncash transactions such as receipt of services, commodities, or other “receipts in kind.”

Cash Security Holdings

Cash and deposits and governmental and private securities (bonds, notes, mortgages, corporate stocks, etc., including loans and other credit paper held by state loan and investment funds) except holdings of agency and private trust funds. Includes fund investments in securities issued by government concerned but does not include interfund loans, receivables, and the value of real property and other fixed assets.

Expenditure

All amounts of money paid out by a government–net of recoveries and other correcting transactions–other than for retirement of debt, investment in securities, extension of credit, or as agency transactions. Note that expenditure includes only external transactions of a government and excludes non-cash transactions such as the provision of perquisites or other payments in kind.

Debt at end of fiscal year

All long-term credit obligations of the government and its agencies whether backed by the governments’ full faith and credit or nonguaranteed, and all interest-bearing short-term credit obligations. Includes judgments, mortgages, and revenue bonds, as well as general obligations bonds, notes, and interest-bearing warrants.

A ‘glass half full’ view of government app contests

An increasing number of people are starting to suggest that the concept of the “app contest” (where governments challenge developers to build civic applications) is getting a bit long in the tooth.

There have been lots of musings lately about the payoff for governments that hold such contests and the long term viability of individual entries developed for these contests. Even Washington DC – the birthplace of the current government app contest craze – seems the be moving beyond the framework it has employed not once, but twice to engage local developers.

Army launches My.Army.Mil

The U.S. Army is set to launch My.Army.Mil. The site is Army’s “official user-customized homepage featuring Army news, information and media from around the globe.”

From the press release:

After visitors sign-in and authenticate with Google Friend Connect (AIM, Google, Yahoo and OpenID) or AKO (Army Knowledge Online), they will be prompted to add and arrange a series of widgets to suit their specific information needs. Powering these widgets are open source technologies such as JQuery, PHP, MySQL and API integration.

Featured widgets include:

  • An All Services widget with feeds from the Army, Air Force, Marines and Navy
  • Flickr, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube widgets that sync with many Army organizations
  • My Army News widget with customized feeds from Commands, Corps, Divisions, Installations, and traditional news sections
  • A Features widget highlighting stories of Valor, Army events, history and heritage
  • AKO (Army Knowledge Online) widget to log-in to AKO
  • Video widget with official Army videos, newscasts and raw footage
  • RSS widget that can pull multiple feeds from external sites